Delighted with this plan, and sanguine in the hope of its successful accomplishment, the czarina named her next grandson Constantine. Austria and Russia thus became allied, with all their sympathies hostile to Frederick. Old age and infirmities were stealing upon the king apace. Among the well-authenticated561 anecdotes related of him, the following is given by Carlyle:At three o’clock in the morning of the 20th of August, and after the march of a few hours, the little army of Frederick commenced constructing a fortified camp near the poor little village of Bunzelwitz, about half way between the Silesian fortresses of Schweidnitz and Striegau. Spades were provided. Fifty thousand men were instantly employed, according to a well-matured plan, in digging and trenching. The extraordinary energies of Frederick seemed to nerve every arm. Here there was speedily reared the camp of Bunzelwitz, which has attained world-wide renown.
Had the Prussian troops been placed on those heights, behind that formidable array of ramparts, and palisades, and abatis, they could with ease have repelled the assaults of three or four times their number. But now they were to undertake the desperate enterprise of advancing to the assault under the greatest disadvantages, with one to attack where there were two to defend. Frederick rapidly advanced from crossing the stream, and the same evening, Saturday, August 11th, encamped at Bischofsee, at the distance of about two miles to the northeast of the intrenched camp of his foes. The king, accompanied by a small escort, rode forward to the knolls of Trettin, and anxiously surveyed with his glass the fearful array of his foes in their long, compact, well-defended lines, arranged in an elongated irregular parallelogram.Frederick, under the tutelage of his stern father, had not enjoyed the privileges of foreign travel. While other princes of far humbler expectations were taking the grand tour of Europe, the Crown Prince was virtually imprisoned in the barracks, day after day, engaged in the dull routine of drilling the giant guard. After the death of his father he did not condescend to be crowned, proudly assuming, in contradiction to some of his earlier teachings, that the crown was already placed upon his brow by divine power. He, however, exacted from the people throughout his realms oaths of allegiance, and in person visited several of the principal cities to administer those oaths with much pomp of ceremony. The Danish envoy, writing home to his government respecting the administration of Frederick, says,Several well-authenticated anecdotes are given respecting the conduct of Frederick on this occasion, which illustrate the various phases in the character of this extraordinary man. The evening before the battle of Zorndorf, the king, having completed his arrangements for a conflict against vastly unequal numbers, upon whose issue were dependent probably both his throne and his life, sent for a member of his staff of some literary pretensions, and spent some time in criticising and amending one of the poems of Rousseau. Was this an affected display of calmness, the result of vanity? Was it an adroit measure to impress the officers with a conviction of his own sense of security? Was it an effort to throw off the terrible pressure which was upon his mind, as the noble Abraham Lincoln often found it to be a moral necessity to indulge in a jest even amidst scenes of the greatest anguish? Whatever may have been the motive, the fact is worthy of record.
While Frederick was involved in all these difficulties, he was cheered by the hope that the French would soon come to his rescue. Unutterable was his chagrin when he learned, early in October, that the French had done exactly as he would have done in their circumstances. Appalling, indeed, were the tidings soon brought to him, that Prince Charles, with his army, had marched unmolested into Bohemia; that he had already effected a junction with General Bathyani and his countless swarm of Pandours; and, moreover, that a Saxon army, twenty thousand strong, in alliance with the Queen of Hungary, was on the way to join his already overwhelming foes. It was reported, at the same time, that Prince Charles was advancing upon Budweis, and that his advance-guard had been seen, but a few miles off, on the western side of the Moldau.
a. Prussian Camp. b b. Prussian Infantry. c c. Prussian Cavalry. d. Position of Buddenbrock. e e. Austrian Infantry. f f. Austrian Cavalry. g. Austrian Hussars.His sister Amelia and several other friends visited him at Breslau. Among others was his reader, Henry de Catt.
It was a peculiarity quite inexplicable which led Frederick to exclude females from his court. His favorites were all men—men of some peculiar intellectual ability. He sought their society only. With the exception of his sister, and occasionally some foreign princess, ladies were seldom admitted to companionship with him. He was a cold, solitary man, so self-reliant that he seldom asked or took advice.Here Frederick, with the remainder of the army from Leitmeritz, joined his brother, against whom he was greatly incensed, attributing the disasters he had encountered to his incapacity. At four o’clock of the 30th of July the king met the Prince of Prussia and the other generals of the discomfited army. Both parties approached the designated spot on horseback. The king, who was accompanied by his suite, upon his arrival within about two hundred feet of the place where his brother, with his officers, was awaiting him, without saluting the prince or recognizing him in the slightest degree, dismounted, and threw himself in a reclining posture upon the greensward. General Goltz was then sent with the following message to the prince:
It was an outrage to which Frederick was not disposed to submit. He entered his remonstrances. The question was referred to the British Court of Admiralty. Month after month the decision was delayed. Frederick lost all patience. English capitalists held Silesian bonds to the amount of about one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.Frederick William, through spies, kept himself informed of every thing which was said or done at Reinsberg. Such orgies as the above excited his contempt and abhorrence. But, notwithstanding the above narrative, there is abundant testimony that the prince was not ordinarily addicted to such shameful excesses. The Italian Count Algarotti, distinguished alike for his familiarity with the sciences and his cultivated taste for the fine arts, was an honored guest at Reinsberg. In a letter addressed to Lord Hervey, under date of September 30th, 1739, the count writes:
THE NIGHT BEFORE MOLLWITZ.
Frederick was accustomed to cover his deep designs of diplomacy322 by the promotion of the utmost gayety in his capital. Never did Berlin exhibit such spectacles of festivity and pleasure as during the winter of 1742 and 1743. There was a continued succession of operas, balls, fêtes, and sleigh-parties. Frederick’s two younger sisters were at that time brilliant ornaments of his court. They were both remarkably beautiful and vivacious. The Princess Louise Ulrique was in her twenty-third year. The following letter to Frederick from these two princesses will be keenly appreciated by many of our young lady readers whose expenses have exceeded their allowance. It shows very conclusively that there may be the same pecuniary annoyances in the palaces of kings as in more humble homes.详情
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